I sit here at two o'clock in the morning, staring numbly at my computer screen. My aching eyes protesting and my thought process severely addled. What am I doing here when I could be in a nice warm bed sleeping?
Lighting up a cigarette, I vaguely realize that there is a reason for my insomnia. An urge. A flickering desire, fanning its own flame. Refusing to be extinguished until it is effectively reflected in some form of print.
I have an idea.
For any writer, when that moment comes, it's a self-imposed sentence of internal reflection. A brief period of time when we face our own unique perspectives on truth. It is also an interval when we vaguely contemplate what others will think of as they view this biased verity.
A subconscious tempering of self-doubt and inner turmoil ensues. Will the editor strike this particular line or phrase? Does this sentence push the work forward or is it merely excess baggage? Is there any way I can reword this paragraph? Is this plot line too predictable?
Hundreds of questions assail our thoughts as we proofread and edit and re-edit our work. All to have it put in print. To have someone other than ourselves recognize it as a work of art. Accept it for what it is worth and to pass it on to others. Perhaps we do this just to save it from that all encompassing morass all writers know as the slush pile -- the no-mans land of work not deemed acceptable at this time. For me, just to have my work make it past this and into an editors hand is a victory. Regardless of this, I am bound by my art. I must write because that is what I do. Not for money nor fame. I am pushed onward by simple passion to create or to explain. To have my characters live and breathe in the imaginations of others. To fashion or to destroy entire worlds or one particular individual. All to get the point of my written work across. All for the good of the story.
Creativity: Maybe it's a madness that afflicts only select individuals. Driving some of us to near obscene lengths to find those perfect words that will best illustrate what we so desperately seek to convey to others. We start to write and the hurricane force winds of creativity pick us up and carry us as far as our own imaginations allow. Time ceases to exist and the next thing we know, we're late for work or a dinner date. But, for just one moment, imagine where your life would be if it weren't for your creativity and your desire to communicate it to the rest of the world.
For those of us that don't write for money or fame, those precious and few moments when we see our name and work in print are reward enough in themselves. A time when we can honestly admit that we made the grade and be proud of the accomplishment.
While I don't always appreciate my creativity keeping me awake at night, I do appreciate the opportunities that my creativity affords me. If it weren't for this precocious spark, I imagine my life would be quite different.
Or would I have even that much imagination?
© 1998 Dan Nielsen, all rights reserved
appears here by permission